London: Cassell and Company Ltd., 1946. First edition, only printing. Hardcover. This is the British first edition, only printing, first state of the sixth volume of Churchill's war speeches. Both aptly and ironically titled Victory, this volume contains speeches, broadcasts, messages, statements, a letter, and the text of the Crimea Declaration made, sent, and issued between 18 January and 16 August 1945. Having done so much to win the war, Churchill faced frustration of his postwar plans when his wartime government fell to Labour in the General Election of July 1945. His final speech in this volume - a review of the war delivered on 16 August 1945 to the House of Commons - was delivered as Leader of the Opposition rather than as Prime Minister. In this speech Churchill trenchantly observed “...The bomb brought peace, but men alone can keep that peace, and henceforward they will keep it under penalties which threaten the survival, not only of civilization but of humanity itself…"
Condition approaches near fine in a good dust jacket. First state of the first edition, only printing is confirmed by mispagination at p.177. The blue cloth binding is square, clean, bright, and tight with only trivial shelf wear to extremities. The contents are bright and clean. Modest spotting is confined to the page edges. The sole previous ownership mark is contemporary – a brief inked gift inscription on the front free endpaper recto dated “8 November 1946.” The dust jacket is substantially complete, with only fractional chipping at the spine ends and retaining the original lower front flap price. The jacket is bright, with only minimal fading to the purple hue at the lower spine. Nonetheless, the jacket is compromised, with wear to extremities, light overall soiling, and a 6.5 inch (16.5 cm) diagonal tear to the upper front face, along with wrinkling along the top edge. The dust jacket is protected beneath a removable, clear, archival cover.
Few books are as emblematic of Churchill’s literary and leadership gifts as his war speeches volumes. During his long public life, Winston Churchill played many roles worthy of note - Member of Parliament for more than half a century, soldier and war correspondent, author of scores of books, ardent social reformer, combative cold warrior, Nobel Prize winner, painter. But Churchill's preeminence as a historical figure owes most to his indispensable leadership during the Second World War, when his soaring and defiant oratory sustained his countrymen and inspired the free world. Of Churchill, Edward R. Murrow said: "He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle." When Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953, it was partly “…for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.” Between 1941 and 1946, Churchill's war speeches were published in seven individual volumes.
The British first editions are visually striking, but were printed on cheap “War Economy Standard” paper, bound in coarse cloth, and wrapped in bright, fragile dust jackets. They proved highly susceptible to spotting, soiling, and fading, so the passage of time has been hard on most surviving first editions.
Reference: Cohen A223.1.a, Woods/ICS A112(ab), Langworth p.234. Item #007333